A Sheepish Little Blog.

Wool and whimsy in the frozen North.

A Bit of a Trim March 24, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — knitbytes @ 11:20 pm
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I decided, a couple of weeks ago, that it was high time that I get a haircut. I was waffling between playing it safe and getting the same old cut I’ve gotten the last few times, but I needed a change- a BIG change.

Here’s me before…

And… are you ready? After.

I love it. I think I look younger AND thinner, and suddenly I have a neck again! It’s a wonderful thing. I went to a new stylist, and I really liked her. Plus, the place she works isn’t a “salon” in the usual meaning of the word. Basically, a company called Sola Salon owns the space, which is chopped up into a couple of dozen little one-chair-and-one-sink rooms with glass doors. Each room has space for signage out front. The idea is, an independent stylist can rent a space and have their own business without having to shell out for an entire building or hire more employees. I think it’s brilliant and I was very happy to support a small business! If anyone in the Minneapolis/Edina area is interested, my stylist is Roni of All The Rave LLC.  (I did the dye myself- it’s the 10 minute Clairol stuff in Light Auburn.)

In knitting news, I finished both of the shawls I’ve been working on. First, here’s my mom’s shawl:

Little Arrowhead Shawl by Pam Allen, my handspun Gale’s Art black BFL wool in Cherry Blossom, size US 7 needles

And here is the Ginkgo Shawl (which is MINE! I adore it).

Ginkgo Shoulderette Shawl by Maggie Magali, Knitpicks Gloss Sock in Jade, size US 6, 8, and 10 needles

Next up? Good question. I know I want to make socks out of some Mountain Colors I have, but can’t decide on a pattern. I also know I want to make something out of the Knitpicks Aloft I have, but same problem- too many pattern options. Hopefully I’ll figure it out soon.

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Pretty in Pink March 20, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — knitbytes @ 10:37 pm
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I didn’t intend this yarn to be pink- I used a lot of purple and blue in the dye, but most of what took was pink and sort of a mauve. I’m not normally so into pink, but I have to say, lately it’s been more appealing… especially in a delicate, heathered laceweight.

Corriedale/Romney cross lamb fleece, hand cleaned, combed, dyed, and spun. 686 yards from 2.2 oz,  fine laceweight.

I’m really pleased with how this came out. It’s slightly underspun (on purpose) so it’s light and lofty and I can’t believe how much yardage I got.

I’m not sure what this will end up being, or if it will even be for me (see above- I’m not really that into pink, not sure I could wear it) but it’s sure soft and lovely.

 

I’m a podcaster, take two March 15, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — knitbytes @ 7:54 pm

I got a webcam for my birthday (thanks mom!) and decided to bite the bullet and get back into podcasting- but video this time.

Here’s the link to the podcast blog, and I’ll post here with a link every time I upload a new episode. It’s a geek podcast with a section on video games, but also just has a section on what I’m making, so it should be pretty accessible despite the geek content, heh! (Even if you don’t want to watch, click over to look at the header- I had a lot of fun with it.)

 

Beecozy March 11, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — knitbytes @ 11:46 am
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A couple of weeks ago, my friend Janelle asked me to make a tea cozy for her difficult-to-fit Beehouse 22oz teapot. She wanted houndstooth patterning, the spout and handle free, and none of that frou-frou bobble/pompom/flower junk you see on a lot of teapot patterns. There was nothing (seriously, nothing) in the Ravelry database that matched those criteria and still fit a 22oz Beehouse pot, so I made something up.

Beecozy pattern (my own), handspun wool and handspun wool/possum blend, size US 7 needles and an H crochet hook

The hole for the spout is a large buttonhole, and it is held on by three button/loop closures.

I was pleased with how it came out. It just so happened that yesterday morning, my mom was looking for a pattern for a tea cozy for this same style of pot, and asked me to write up the pattern. So I did. Here it is. I’m also adding it to Ravelry. Let me know if anything looks strange- as I’m offering it free, I didn’t get it test knit.

 

Free at last March 10, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — knitbytes @ 12:09 am
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The Alice Mittens are DONE.

I finished them yesterday afternoon, but they needed blocking and the buttons sewn on, so officially they got finished this morning.

Alice in Wonderland Mittens by Jennifer Lang, size US 2 needles, Artyarns Ultramerino in black, Regia Silk 4-ply in silver, linings in Knitpicks Gloss Lace in fiesta (red)

To be honest, for a while after finishing them I didn’t want to look at them. I was so sick of this project that all I could feel was immense relief that I was DONE.

But the more I look at them, the more I love them.

After finishing those, I realized that it was March 9th and I hadn’t finished a single thing that I could turn in for Nerd Wars (well, I made pieces for something, but I haven’t actually done the… event… yet, so I can’t turn that in) so I whipped up a quick little toy. One of the challenges was “In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb” and the parameters were to either make, from your team’s fandom, an animal or something with lion and lamb like qualities. I chose the latter and made a creature from Earthbound (Mother 2 in Japan) known as a Foppy.

Monster Chunks by Rebecca Danger, size US 5 needles, Järbo Garn Raggi Solids in red

I think he’s very cute. He’s only about two inches tall and maybe two and a half inches wide, and took maybe 45 minutes tops.

In non-knitting news, my birthday party was last Saturday, and my birthday itself on Monday! I had a wonderful party and an even better birthday. The big exciting news is that on my birthday, I finally went and took (and aced) my driver’s permit exam. I never learned to drive as a teen and since I became an adult haven’t needed to learn, but I decided that at 25 years old it was finally time. I’ve done the “slow-circles-in-a-parking-lot” thing twice now, and this weekend we’re going to go find a long stretch of empty country road to tool around on. It’s harder than it should be because our car is a manual transmission, but I think I’ll get it eventually.

Here are some photos from the party!

The chocolate layer cake and pecan pie I baked for the party

The guests, minus myself (behind the camera), my husband, and my brother (both off buying pizzas). From left to right that’s Kiah, my sister Kristen and my nephew Elliot, Nicole, Nick and Marie, Kate’s face, and Janelle’s legs and torso

The best photo of my husband ever taken

Nicole and I tentatively trying pieces of a bacon/maple cupcake my sister brought- it was actually pretty ok

And I’d share our bananagrams silliness with you, but I didn’t get any clear photos of word selections that DIDN’T involve parts of the anatomy or swears. My friends are an interesting bunch! In any case, it was the best party I’ve had in a long, long time.

Here’s to 25!

 

Fruity! March 3, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — knitbytes @ 10:00 pm
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The new Nerd Wars challenges went up at midnight March 1st, and while I’m not sure I’ll get to all of them, I dove right in on a couple of them. One of them, called “Polytechs”, is geared toward combining two crafts. One had to be knitting, crochet, spinning, or weaving, but the other could be any craft you like. I chose to try dyeing wool with Kool-Aid. I’d never dyed anything but my hair before, so I was a little nervous about how it would go, but it worked very nicely.

Here’s what this stuff looked like beforehand. It’s sort of yellowish- this is actually wool from the fleece I bought at Shepherd’s Harvest two years ago. I ended up deciding it was too big a job and sold it to a friend, who very kindly sent me back about 5 ounces, washed and combed.

And here it is after microwave-dyeing with two packets of Black Cherry, two packets of Grape, one packet of Berry Blue, and one packet of Blue Raspberry Lemonade.

I ended up fitting a bit less than 3 oz into my dye pot. The nice thing about dyeing with food color, like kool-aid, is that you don’t need a special pot to dye in, as it’s safe to use around dishes you normally cook in or eat off of. Also, the kool-aid contains acid, so you don’t even need to add vinegar to “fix” the dye. It’s already permanent and colorfast.

The downside, however, is that it smells… well… fruity. Fake fruity. Not terrible, just fake fruity.

Note- the blue is my leader, it’s just old cotton yarn, not part of the spinning fiber. It’s spinning up extremely fine.  The reason for this is also the reason I can’t spin much at a time… the person who combed this fiber for me left a certain amount of lanolin, or “sheep grease”, in the fiber because she prefers to spin “in the grease”. The lanolin helps the fiber grip itself, so it’s easier to spin a very fine single. Unfortunately, I let it sit in a bag a bit too long and the “grease” is now more like… “sticker residue”. It’s sticky. It’s still obviously lanolin, because it does absorb into skin rather than needing to be washed off, but it’s still sticky while I spin the wool.

I’m sure it’ll be lovely when I’m done, though. I’m still trying to decide whether to chain-ply or two-ply it.

As for my knitting, I’ve gotten past the thumb gusset on the second outer Alice mitten.

It’s oddly mind-numbing while still being too complicated to multi-task through, so I’m not enjoying it much, but it is getting closer to done.

I started a pair of boring 2×2 rib socks for Cory, but those will have to go on hold for a few days while I seam up a leviathan of a blanket for a group blanket project on Ravelry. I don’t know what possessed me to volunteer to seam, but I’m going to do it anyway! We’ll see how long it takes. I’m hoping only a day or two.